Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 ‘The Great’
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons
Mariss Jansons latest release, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, features a perennial favourite; namely, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 known as the ‘Great’ C major. Don’t be confused by the album cover which names the symphony as No. 8¹.
The magnificent opening horn calls, with their distinct Wagnerian influence, get this performance off to a great start and the remainder of the work does not disappoint. Here we have a live performance full of drama, compassion and conviction. Mariss Jansons clearly understands the ambition of this work. The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is first class; it is clear and incisive, with Schubert’s accents appropriately emphasised. The Scherzo is full of energy and Jansons unleashes its forward-looking, visionary message most perfectly. In the grandiose finale there is an overwhelming force that makes a lasting impression on the listener.
This is a truly outstanding interpretation of one of the most significant Romantic symphonies – and it needs to be! The catalogue contains many exceptional recordings of this wonderful work including Claudio Abbado’s riveting account with the Orchestra Mozart, recorded live during concerts in 2011 and Karl Böhm’s much earlier account, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, available as part of an outstanding set of the complete Schubert symphonies. Nonetheless this new recording can happily stand beside the best and can be wholeheartedly recommended to anyone seeking a version of this work.
¹ BR Klassik uses the German numbering system, in accordance with the Neue Schubert-Ausgabe complete catalogue of works.